The next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store, try this experiment. Scan the cover of every magazine displayed. You’ll notice a style of headline writing that not only grabs your attention but also seduces you into wanting to know more.
You might scoff at the idea that such sensationalized writing lures you, but editors follow a formula because it’s effective. If you read, “Three Surprising Benefits of Calling In Sick” or “Don’t Get Caught: How to Dodge an IRS Audit,” you might quickly add that magazine to your shopping cart.
These same principles apply to email marketing. Before writing your next email newsletter or promotion, consider trying one of these two time-tested headline-writing techniques.
1. Make It Count
Readers want to anticipate what they’ll learn by reading your email. Pique their curiosity by following a simple formula: number + adjective + noun + subject pertinent to your business. For a technology-consulting firm, the formula might generate this headline: “Four Ingenious Uses for Your Tablet Computer.” An accountant might tease, “25 Under-the-Radar Tax Deductions for Small Businesses.”
2. Read like a Tabloid
Although you owe it to your audience to be credible, that doesn’t mean your email headlines can’t sensationalize information a bit. When trying this strategy, involve every sense of the reader to create an experience without promising something you can’t deliver. This might prompt a personal stylist to proclaim, “From Bed to Door in 30 Minutes: How to Dress for Time-Crunched Mornings.” Or an employment law attorney to suggest, “Never Get Sued Again: Practical Stress-Relieving Tips for Employers.